Retired Rear Admiral and former State Department spokesman John Kirby said that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's missile launch Friday was a "middle finger" to the United States, to China, and the United Nations. He made the comments on CNN to John Berman.
"Admiral," Berman inquired, "the North Koreans has done a number of missile tests since President Trump has taken office, but again this ones comes after key meetings with China. This one comes after many official statements from the administration and the State Department. You said earlier you think you think this is Kim Jong Un giving the United States, essentially, the finger."
"I do, I believe that," Kirby affirmed, "but it's also Kim giving China the finger. And perhaps even the UN. I do think this was linked in time, and if early reports are accurate and this was launched from a mobile launcher, he can set those things up in relatively short order you don't need a lot of time and prep. Thats actually one of the most dangerous things about the ballistic missile program that he advances is its mobility and the quickness with which he can launch these things."
"So yeah," he continued, "I think this this is him sending a signal that for all the tough talk coming out of New York and Washington, and even Beijing of late, he's not listening, he's going to pursue his program."
"The fact that it doesn't appear to have worked," Kirby followed up, "the fact that it appears to have exploded shortly after liftoff, does that matter in and of itself, or is the fact that they keep on trying, is that what's important here?"
"As I've said before," Kirby responded, "I don't think there's anything such as failure in this program. Every time he does something like this whether it succeeds beyond his expectations or not, he learns, he adapts, and he folds those lessons in the program going forward."
Ret. Adm. Kirby says the latest missile test from North Korea is a 'middle finger' to the US, China, and the UN https://t.co/NcGTjst1da
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 29, 2017
Kirby also dismissed those who were downplaying the test just because it wasn't successful.
"So, I've seen the early reports that this thing didn't go very far," he said. "If it is a a KS-17 its meant to go between a 1,000 and 3,000 kilometers. Obviously it fell way short of that, but I don't think we should dismiss this."
"I think every time he does this, he gets better," Kirby warned.
The United States had warned North Korea that they were risking military action with their belligerent and threatening missile tests. Trump took to Twitter to castigate the country, saying, "North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!"
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1493421978.0
Trump has said that if diplomacy fails that we risk a "major, major" conflict with North Korea.